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O ph t h a l m o lo g y More Frequent Testing May Lead to Earlier Detection of Glaucoma Progression “If patients are seen regularly and comply with their doctor’s instructions, the chances of going blind from glaucoma are actually very low.” Glaucoma is the second-most-common cause of irreversible blindness in the United States. It develops when pressure inside the eye is too high for the optic nerve to tolerate over the long run. The prevalence of this chronic disease increases with age, affecting nearly 1 percent of people 40 years and older and 2-to-4 percent of people 65 years and older. WWW.UCLAHEALTH.ORG There is no cure, but further vision loss can be prevented if disease progression is detected early and appropriate treatment is administered. “When you lose optic-nerve fibers from glaucoma, whatever is lost is lost forever,” says ophthalmologist Kouros Nouri-Mahdavi, 1-800-UCLA-MD1 (1-800-825-2631) M.D., M.Sc., a glaucoma specialist at the Jules Stein Eye Institute (JSEI) at UCLA. “Even when patients know they have glaucoma, they really cannot tell if it’s getting worse because the damage is often asymptomatic.” The front part of the eye is filled with fluid. This fluid is constantly secreted into the eye, circulates and then drains from the eye. Anything that impedes the flow of this fluid out of the eye causes pressure to build up, which can damage the optic nerve. With progressing loss of nerve fibers over time, the appearance of the optic nerve begins to change. Optic-nerve injury from glaucoma